An exciting Azores Airlines Rallye lead battle has taken a sudden twist in the FIA European Rally Championship’s second Friday morning stage, after a puncture for second placed Ricardo Moura.
Nine-time Azorean champion Moura was locked in an intense battle for first place with rally leader Alexey Lukyanuk and ERC Junior U28 leader Martin Koči, but a puncture picked up midway through Feteiras Meo’s morning pass has set him back over 13 seconds.
“I didn’t feel anything special. We did half the stage with the puncture at the front,” explained Moura at stage end.
“We were going to make a super time here. We were pushing like hell. With the puncture, it’s a lot of time [we’ve lost].”
Despite his puncture, Moura still went 0.9 seconds quicker through the 7.46 kilometre rest than nearest rival Koči, so continues to hold second place heading into the morning loop’s final stage, Sete Cidades.